The Smith Leadership Academy was a great experience to learn a lot of the skills we as staff only “hear about” from students – including marketing, management, finance, and operations. Having these courses taught by our world-renowned Smith faculty – such as P.K. Kannan, Joe Bailey, Alex Triantis, and Curt Grimm was just icing on the cake! In terms of my fellow SLA classmates, I met staff I would not have had the opportunity to meet doing routine Smith business – such as Evan Riddle, Ashlee Kerkhoff, and Kathryn Duffy.
The Action Learning Project (ALP) assigned to each team let us not only tackle a challenge using our new project management skills, but also put some of our creative ideas into place to solve real issues being faced by the Smith School – such as addressing challenges in the MS program, improving communication within the school, and enhancing community among staff. It’s nice to hear about practices and programs currently in place, such as the “4+1” concept in the MS Program, and say, “oh, that was our idea in my team’s Leadership ALP”!
During my time in the UMD-Smith Leadership Academy, I had the opportunity to develop relationships with staff from various departments around the Smith School. These relationships have enhanced my ability to work effectively across departments and feel a stronger sense of community with my colleagues. I am so grateful for my experience in the Leadership Academy, and for the bonds I built during my time in it.
The Leadership Academy was a great experience. The aspect I found most rewarding was five professionals from dissimilar backgrounds were put together to tackle a problem. It was fascinating to watch the group grow together, become a team and present a solution to the problem given them.
Leadership Academy taught me so much about my co-workers, how they operate and what their passions are. In my role, I get to interact with the majority of our staff, but very rarely get the opportunity to really work with them. Leadership Academy gave me this opportunity to learn from and with my cohort, and I am forever grateful for the meaningful relationships I have been able to build.
The Leadership Academy has made a dramatic difference in my life. Not only did I learn much more about the Smith School of Business I learned more about myself. Throughout my career I have gotten used to being a team of one. Leadership Academy helped me learn to improve my ability to work within a team and communicate. The breadth of knowledge and interactivity of the instructors was amazing. The best part for myself was the bond that was created within my team and cohort.
Overall, the program conditioned me to be more efficient and effective in responding to and working with Smith School units outside my department, Marketing Communications. Engaging with colleagues from different units sharpened my awareness of their processes and challenges. This dynamic was fueled by the strategic insight to negotiating, leadership and collaborative problem solving from Smith faculty facilitators. Beyond equipping me to be a more effective Smith-team member, the experience undoubtedly steeled me to work more effectively with external counterparts in the PR and media fields.
The Leadership Academy provides a great opportunity to learn from some of the top faculty at the Smith School. I still apply P.K. Kannan's lesson of making sure to have the essentials right before adding "bells and whistles" during program development. In addition to the faculty, my cohort members all shared unique perspectives that broadened my views as a professional in higher education.
ERIN FIELDS SADDLER
The Smith Leadership Academy was an amazing experience! To be able to learn from the best faculty and network with other young professionals within the school made this opportunity so worthwhile. As we completed our Action Learning Project (ALP), it was wonderful to see how well we worked as a team and utilized our strengths. The relationships that developed are ones that I will continue to nurture throughout my career.
Leadership Academy: The perfect example of synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. It was a time of intense professional and personal development. You have access to the best faculty, and work with teams derived of people from other departments, all with different skills and unique talents. You get to realize your real potential, work with wonderful people and projects are about real issues! Amazing experience!
While Leadership Academy itself was a great experience, I realized I needed a deeper dive into the content - especially the courses I never had as an English undergrad. I was also more than slightly shocked to learn that I found Finance so interesting! It made me realize I was ready to pursue an MBA (here at Smith, of course), and I am so, so happy with that decision.
It was an awesome experience in the Leadership Academy. I have learned great lessons from the best faculty at the Smith School. During the class I discovered the talent and strength from my colleagues which I would not otherwise since we work in different departments. It made me appreciate more about them and their work. Through this experience I have gained confidence in public speaking and I am glad that I had this opportunity.
Leadership Academy helped me grow as a Smith School professional. Instead of being absorbed into my department's silo, I was able to make new connections throughout the building and across campus which continue to serve me today.